Portable Home Cinema and Audio System: An Excersize in Portable Excess
Sep 10, 2009 at 11:06 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 29

Dr. Strangelove

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-Preface-
Two 3.5 hour trips per week on a train for one year or more... I need to find a way to make this bareable for an audio/cinemaphile.
They have ac outlets on the train and a 50 pound carry-on limit for two packages... I could take a laptop as well as a brief case on with out adding to the weight limit. I could bring the headphones, Stax 4070, in their own carrying case.

-Concept-
Everything except the laptop (and maybe the headphones), needs to fit inside a case that in sum weighs 50 pounds or less and has dimensions at or below 28" x 22" x 14". I was thinking some sort suitcase setup... basically a self contained system which would only require a laptop and stax to be plugged in.

This case could sit on a fold-down tray and the laptop could sit on top of that, or on my lap (with a pad to protect my lap from heat and weight). The case might be able to go in to a storage compartment/under my seat and i could just run extended cords to my seat/to the AC.

-Details-
Ok so equipment involved:

-Headphones: Stax 4070 *1.3lb*

-Amplifier: SRM-252A or SRM-310 *3.7lb max*

-Surround Sound: Smyth SVS Realiser *3.3lb*

-Laptop: HP EliteBook 8730w (with DreamColor) + External Blu-Ray drive *7lb though it does not count as case weight*

-Sound processing: An external PCI solution for the laptop is the only viable way to get decent sound quality for multi channel sound. I have located a company that sells external PCI adaptors for Laptop ports. And the card I use would be an Auzentech X-Plosion 7.1. *weighs next to nothing*

-Power: A powerstrip located inside with everything plugged in + an outside power port for plugging in a laptop. This would result in the system being portable where-ever a 110v outlet is located (awesome!). A light extension cord would be bundled inside the case. *next to nothing*

-Case: Black aluminium with small quiet fans implemented. *not sure yet*

-Rough estimate: unknown
*Phones* = 1550
*Amplifier* = Maybe around 300
*Realiser* = 2500 (no need for the stax phones and amp)
*PCI adapt + Soundcard* = 400 (might be able to get the soundcard used)
*Laptop* 1.7k with external Blu-Ray Drive.
*Use of Studio for Realiser Calibration* Not sure of this yet... lets say 300.
*Cables* BJC 8 LC-1 Cables 3 ft = 130 (Might be able to go shorter)

I think I will pay for this via saving, overtime, not upgrading to a better BMW, selling my current equipment, selling my surround receiver, turntable, and maybe taking out a personal loan to fill in the gaps, and a few other things.

In regards to the high price this needs to be put in to perspective: This system can go anywhere as long as it has a AC outlet and outside noise as a factor is reduced in importance thanks to closed phones. It also is high quality enough to be used at home for movies and music. The only additions for home would be a FW900 CRT monitor and tactile transducer. Given the flexibility and quality of this hypothetical, I believe it would be worth a high cost.

If you are naive about the Smyth SVS Realiser:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/lon...rchase-418401/
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f11/sm...phones-323219/
http://www.smyth-research.com/index.html
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1136269

-Extra Questions-
-How much sound does the 4070 leak? It does not have to be perfect, but it cannot be too loud.
-How much isolation the the 4070 provide? Anyone have his info in db amount?
-Has anyone used Stax or phone that require full sized amps on a train before?
-Anyone have an idea for "case" for all this?
-Am I insane for thinking that this is viable?

-Disclaimer-
I put this in high end because it entails more than just PC as a source, mobile phones, amplifier, and full sized headphones and also because the cost of this would be obscene and the resulting quality would be quite high for a semi-portable setup.
 
Sep 10, 2009 at 11:17 PM Post #3 of 29

Dr. Strangelove

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LingLing1337 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sounds awesome- but where's the DAC?


An 8 channel USB Asynch DAC does not exist or would be quite expensive to put in to existance for the required purpose.
 
Sep 10, 2009 at 11:19 PM Post #5 of 29

Dr. Strangelove

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Quote:

Originally Posted by iriverdude /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Laptop + DAC/headphone amp + phones. Job done. If you want proper home theatre, buy a proper home theatre.


Go away please.
 
Sep 10, 2009 at 11:25 PM Post #7 of 29

Dr. Strangelove

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Quote:

Originally Posted by iriverdude /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You're being serious? Taking $10K of kit on a train. Yikes


I am quite insane...

This system would be quite discrete and in my sight the whole time... plus this train line is not something shabby.
 
Sep 11, 2009 at 12:22 AM Post #8 of 29

edstrelow

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I recommend a big portable dvd player with optical digital output, the JVC Dolby headphone surround sound adapter and the Stax SRM1 Mk2 portable system. The player would feed the JVC unit optically and while the JVC does not have a line out, the headphone out to the Stax is quite acceptable. Get some good cables and you will be set to go for less than a grand.

I have such a system and it is very impressive sonically.

There are also the old Stax portable amps that run on 8 C cells that could run bigger Stax/Koss/Sennheisser phones, but not the 007A. However I think the little Stax amp is as good if not better but is limited to the 001 phones.

Alternatively some laptops have Dolby headphone already but may not have a usable digital output.

Re: isolation, the Lambdas leak a lot and have minimal isolation. The portable SR001 leaks little and has a modest amount of isolation. I use mine effectively just about anywhere except in the noisier seats in a jet. I would think the train would be quieter than the plane.
 
Sep 11, 2009 at 12:35 AM Post #9 of 29

Dr. Strangelove

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Quote:

Originally Posted by edstrelow /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I recommend a big portable dvd player with optical digital output, the JVC Dolby headphone surround sound adapter and the Stax SRM1 Mk2 portable system. The player would feed the JVC unit optically and while the JVC does not have a line out, the headphone out to the Stax is quite acceptable. Get some good cables and you will be set to go for less than a grand.


1: I really do not like dolby headphone. Compared to the realiser DH is a joke.
2: This hypothetical system is good enough for portable use as well as home use... what you suggested is not.
3: The train has an AC outlet.
4: Portable DVD players suck on average... compared to a good lappy.
5: I am talking about the 4070s not the lambdas.
 
Sep 11, 2009 at 1:21 AM Post #11 of 29

Dr. Strangelove

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Refer to my updated first post.
 
Sep 11, 2009 at 1:42 AM Post #12 of 29

El_Doug

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What kind of current can the outlet on the train really put out? Would it be sufficient for all of these devices?

I also wonder - is a laptop screen going to be adequate, when you have monstrous surround sound? would one of those goggle-style cinema glasses that simulate a 120'' screen be more viable? i think it would be an awkward experience to hear $100,000 speakers all around you, only to see it on a small, poor quality image (yes, all laptops have poor video quality - especially in comparison with the quality of audio youre talking about).


To answer your last question: this is absolutely absurd
biggrin.gif
but damn, it just may be possible!
 
Sep 11, 2009 at 1:57 AM Post #13 of 29

Dr. Strangelove

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Quote:

Originally Posted by El_Doug /img/forum/go_quote.gif
What kind of current can the outlet on the train really put out? Would it be sufficient for all of these devices?!


I would have to call the place and ask but I do not assume it to be a problem. In reality the devices do not take up a whole lot of power: the amp will take 80 watts, the Realiser is a glorified computer with an ADC and DAC... lets just throw out 40 watts, and the lappy will probably use close to 80 watts + or - when plugged in to the wall. Almost 200 watts, I would think it should work ok (Note those are at full load by the way). Heh lets say I got really insane and put in a couple low speed fans to vent, and an external HDD: maybe an extra 30 watts.


Quote:

Originally Posted by El_Doug /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think it would be an awkward experience to hear $100,000 speakers all around you, only to see it on a small, poor quality image (yes, all laptops have poor video quality - especially in comparison with the quality of audio youre talking about).


That is a good point... but LED laptop screens are not total crap... better than my TV anyways. The train will also be lighted so LCD's crap black-levels will be less of a problem. A sacrafice will have to be made here i think... I can use my CRT when I get home anyways.

By the way the image quality produced by the laptop will be the same as my main PC as I would use the same decoder filters... probably better than some players. The screen is the main problem.
 
Sep 11, 2009 at 2:06 AM Post #14 of 29

El_Doug

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now I'm thinking: why a KGSS, and not simply use a used SS stax model? itd be cheaper, and with the smyth doing the phase calculations, I doubt there would be much more to hear in the movies. heck, even the amp that comes with the 2050 system should be fine

forget the laptop! get the Oppo blu-ray player, and use its multichannel audio-out for the smyth. then, use its video-out into some cinema goggles!
 
Sep 11, 2009 at 2:10 AM Post #15 of 29

El_Doug

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heres a link to a more proper video option: Widescreen Videoglasses


this, with the Oppo, Smyth (including the 2050's amp), and 4070's will give a better cinema experience, I believe. it will be much easier to carry around on the train, and save you a lot of cash. heck, do you really need blu-ray? most people cannot hear an improvement from the new audio standards in dedicated theater rooms - and youd have the click-clack of the train in the background. plus, even if you do for some reason end up using an HD screen, upconverting DVD players are capable of amazing feats, and are indeed extremely difficult to distinguish from their blu-ray counterparts


...i just may have to save up for this next year!
 

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